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ESD awards funding to regional incubators

By Eric Reinhardt (


Also extends certifications        

Hope Knight is president, CEO, and commissioner of Empire State Development. (ERIC REINHARDT / CNYBJ)

New York State has awarded $125,000 in annual funding and extended designations to business incubators operating in the greater Central New York, Mohawk Valley, and Southern Tier regions. 

The incubators include the Hub in Hamilton in Madison County, a collaboration between Colgate University and the Partnership for Community Development; CADE (Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship) in Oneonta in Otsego County; and REV Ithaca and IncubatorWorks in Painted Post in the Southern Tier. 

Empire State Development (ESD) has awarded $5 million to a total of eight certified business incubators as part of the agency’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), per the ESD Nov. 20 announcement. Additional awardees include incubators operating in the Capital Region, Long Island, and New York City.

The state awarded the funding through round XIII of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, ESD said.

The eight awardees will each receive a five-year designation, and the awarded funding supports annual operating costs for NYSTAR programs and centers that “emphasize the importance of working with industry as a way to leverage New York State’s technology strengths to produce new products and services.” 

Described as a “competitive process,” ESD and the Regional Economic Development Councils receive and review applications through the consolidated funding application (CFA) 

NYSTAR designates a total of 10 “Innovation Hot Spots” — one for each of New York’s economic-development regions — and 20 certified business incubators over a rolling competitive process, which receive funding to “reach a greater number” of early-stage companies.

“NYSTAR’s certified business incubators are an important tool in the toolbox for early-stage companies throughout New York State to build and grow their business,” Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, statewide chair of the regional council initiative, said in a news release. “Growing the technology sector throughout the state will ensure that New York is well prepared for the future and the Regional Councils are proud to support the innovation economy.”

New York’s certified business incubators “offer a range of support” to help get new and emerging businesses “off the ground and put them on the path to success, with the goal of driving and directing growth,” ESD said. 

The business-support services and resources include finding physical workspaces and helping build capital; initializing strategy and planning; and introducing new entrepreneurs to local businesses and networks. 

On average, companies can spend up to two years working alongside a business incubator, taking advantage of low-cost office space while gaining “invaluable” advice and expertise on best practices.

“Supporting NYSTAR’s certified business incubators demonstrate our continued commitment to growing our technology sector on every level, from early stage and beyond, so they can be successful in New York State,” Hope Knight, president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development, said in the release. “By supporting NYSTAR’s incubators, we are making a huge difference in a start-up’s future.”


Funding for the program was included in round XIII of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative as part of the state budget. 

The REDC process continues to “support and empower” regional stakeholders in developing strategic plans and funding priorities that meet local economic needs, ESD contends. 

Regional councils reviewed projects from this program and provided scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region’s goals and strategies. Applicants used New York’s CFA, the state’s single application for state resources, which includes programs for numerous agencies. 

It is designed to provide “expedited and streamlined access” to a combined pool of grant funds and tax credits from dozens of existing programs, ESD said.  

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